Social Sites Blocked in Glasgow but City Council Uses Twitter!

Christine Rooney-Browne,  a PhD student based at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, wrote back in March about her experience at  The Mitchell Library in Glasgow “soaking up the atmosphere from the latest Aye Write Book Festival:”

I had thought it might be a good idea to tweet about the events I attended but when I tried to access Twitter on The Mitchell Library’s public access computers I was informed that Twitter was considered to be an ‘unacceptable website’. Surely not, I thought, so I tried again, on a different computer.  Same message again.   Made me wonder about what else would be blocked.  Attempted to login toFacebook and although the ‘unacceptable website’ message did not pop  up, a strange login screen did and when I attempted to type in my user name and password I realised that nothing was appearing on the screen. Seemed to be locked out of that one as well.  Tried MySpace, same thing! Okay, they’re blocking social networking websites I thought….but then something happened that made no sense whatsoever.  I was able to login to Bebo no problem.   I also tried to access Flickrand YouTube but they were inaccessible too.  Stranger still was what I found out later.   Glasgow City Council had been using Twitter to help promote the Aye Write festival, and there were buttons on the Aye Write website encouraging users to visit their profile on both Facebook and MySpace…  

Read the comments – it gets very interesting – including an exchange with the head of Marketing and Public Relations at Glasgow City Council. Christine wonders why Twitter is blocked when the GCC is using it for promotion:

Colin Edgar replies:

We’re having a look at that just now.

You’re throwing up another interesting question for Local Government: Do you get back to the customer with what information you have, thus ensuring that you give a quick, although not full, response? Or do you wait ’till you have all the facts before getting back, thus ensuring a full, but slower, response?

You’ll see I tend towards the former.

One other thing: we have a customer contact system which logs enquiries, complaints etc, and the responses and response times. I don’t know whether we’ve ever logged the message trail following a blog posting in this system, so this could be a, small but significant, first.

Best - C

This really speaks to the next barrier libraries are running up against with social networking: governing bodies above the library. These are the folks we need to be talking to – library folk are doing pretty darn well these days. I’m intrigued to hear what’s happened since this post. Are the sites unblocked?

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3 thoughts on “Social Sites Blocked in Glasgow but City Council Uses Twitter!”

  1. Interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? I’m curious to know what’s happening in Glasgow also. Same thing is happening here in FL. My school district blocks most social media sites for all schools (including many great professional development blogs and Twitter). Yet the District communications dept. is now on the Twitter bandwagon and has a link to it on its public homepage. Of course no employees can access it while working, which was discovered when they sent a mass email out to all personnel announcing that you could follow the District on Twitter. Subsequently, a second email had to be sent telling all personnel they could only access it from home.

    In spite of the block, I’ve been using Twitter (@VPAALibraries) for my libraries for several months now. (I get around the District ban by tweeting from my cell phone – which is also banned from use at school when children are present – and from my edublogs site). It can be a great marketing and communication tool for the libraries.

    I now have a local newspaper and radio station following me, and, ironically, the District communications dept, too :-) So I’ve started adding a tweet here and there asking questions about how we can best use social media to enhance learning in schools. It may get me in hot water, but for me it’s worth it to push the envelope…

    Anyone out there had luck getting Twitter or other social media UN-blocked in your libraries or school media centers? If so, please share your story…

  2. I used to write my blogs from Internet cafes before i got my own laptop a few months ago. And now I will never go back to using Internet cafes again as with your own computer you have total freedom and your own privacy. that is nobody watching what you do and unlimited time. As for the library they will only give you 1 hour on the computer so it is not even worth going there. As for sites being blocked,I have been there. One Internet cafe blocked EVERY social network site,Blogger and Daily motion. So I never went there again. But the library the time limit is too short as well as the fact that most of the sites are blocked that are totally harmless,eg You tube,facebook etc. That is the one reason I will NEVER go to the library to use the Internet. They treat us adults like children.Andrea Borman.

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